THE SUPREME COURT OF VANUATU delivered its sentencing for the 14 convicted Members of Parliament this morning in court. While a peaceful crowd gathered outside eagerly waiting to witness what was sure to happen in the next hour or so a company of Police and Paramilitary (VMF) Officers kept a watchful eye all around.

Justice Mary Sey told the convicted MPs in court today before delivering the sentences that, “you were given power and authority as leaders of this nation, and in that comes trust, but you betrayed that trust, the public’s trust in you as leaders.”

Justice Mary Say continued to say that “the act of bribery needs to be weeded out in Vanuatu, and its penalties which you the members of parliament have passed in parliament must be enforced”.

“This case will set a precedent for future matters relating to bribery,” Justice Mary Sey said.

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Police bus arrives at the Correctional Center

Sentences;

Moana Carcasses Kalosil MP for Port Vila who offered bribery in the form of VT 1million to the now convicted Members of Parliament was charged with 18 counts and was given a sentence of 4 years imprisonment by the Supreme Court.

Tony Nari, MP for Pentecost was charged with two counts and was sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment.

Former Minister of Lands inside the Police Bus

Former Minister of Lands inside the Police Bus

Marcellino Pipite, MP for Santo Rural was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Paul Barthelemy Telukluk MP for Malekula was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment. 

Sebastien Harry MP for Tanna was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Serge Vohor Rialuth MP for Santo Rural was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Antony Wright MP for Port Vila was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

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Convicted MP’s inside Police Bus.

Jonas James MP for Paama was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

John Amos MP for Tongoa was charged with one count and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Thomas Lakin MP for Tanna was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Steven Kalsakau MP for Efate Rural was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Silas Yatan MP for Tanna was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Arnold Prasad MP for Santo was charged with one count and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Jean Yves Chabod MP for Port Vila was charged with one count and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

Police Bus leaves the Court for the Correctional Centre with the convicted MPs.

Police Bus leaves the Court for the Correctional Centre with the convicted MPs.

Willie Jimmy Tapangararua MP for Port Vila who pleaded guilty earlier, he received a suspended sentence from imprisonment.

“However,” stated the Judge, “let this be a lesson and a reminder. That you are hereby warned that you are not going to jail today, but any reoffending in the next two years will immediately resort in your having to serve this sentence of 20 months in imprisonment in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed for your reoffending”.

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An emotional Willie Jimmy leaves earlier after having his imprisonment sentence suspended by the Supreme Court.

The judge said sentences are to be effective immediately; however the convicts have 14 days to file an appeal case.

All the convicts are now being held at the Correctional Center near the Dumbea Hall.

The MPs were convicted for accepting bribery offers in the form of VT 1million vatu from Moana Carcasses Kalosil in 2014 to oust the then government through a no confidence motion against the then Prime Minister Joe Natuman.

To view or download the full document of the Sentencing click here: Bribery Case Sentencing.

AUDIO INTERVIEW: Tess Netwon Cain, political analyst at Vanuatu-based Devpacific think tank, talks with Radio New Zealand International after the sentencing: Click here to listen. 

(Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201775748/jail-terms-begin-for-14-mps-in-vanuatu)

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